“Why do you pick up cigarette butts?’

“Why do you pick up cigarette butts?’

Tuesday morning trip to the VA Hospital to get my chronically bleeding nose looked at. Well, not chronic but often enough. Every time I blow my nose, actually. And I tend to get a runny nose when I eat a lot of sugar.   That is chronic to me. I have some other chronic symptoms, like restless, irritable and malcontent often enough. And like the bloody nose, all there is to do is to be conscious of triggers to deal with them. Like waking up is a trigger for malcontent.

I am a chronic underachiever and/or overachiever depending on which end of the pendulum I am swinging. It’s either Superman, savior to the world or a hopeless piece-of-shit-nobody taking up space on the planet.   The triggers for both of these assessments seem like they ought to be easily managed. Being of service somehow will do it. I like to pick up cigarette butts. God knows I scattered thousands of them (20 per day for 39 years adds up to 284,000). It will take me some time to get my karma even with all the littering I have done in my life. When I have a particularly productive day of cigarette picking I tend to swing to Superman state.

While picking up a cigarette butt on the golf course, a fellow golfer ask’s,

“Why do you pick up cigarette butts?’

It’s a beautiful clear, crisp day at Old Ranch Country Club in Seal Beach. Two o’clock in the afternoon with the Sun almost directly overhead. The long stretching carpets of green grass lined with the rough of horsetail shrubs, two foot deep flowing grasses and multiple Coastal Oak trees with various birds, squirrels and rabbits are frozen in time like a Kincaid Painting. I am dressed in my khaki Bermuda shorts with the white Nike belt, my black shirt with a collar and my favorite golf sandals that I can wear without socks so I can stand in water when necessary. My golf buddy is new to the group so he does not know about the attitude tuning benefits of picking up cigarette butts. I have just hit a wild hook over the fence onto the road. My attitudinal pendulum has swung and is stuck in “loser”. The cigarette butts will, I hope, get me back in God’s good graces and I will hit better shots in the future. There are not as many butts on the Country Club course as there are on the public golf courses. There is, however, an old half eaten turkey sandwich.

I answer him the lie, “Ah, no reason. You don’t really wanna know. This place gets to be a mess if we don’t keep it cleaned up. So I pick it up,” I continued to pretend to be cool.

The world of golf is a leftover of wanna be’s. The wanna be privileged and entitled like the so called wealthy leisure class.   Seems every unemployed truck driver and Longshoreman now can play golf where years ago it was only Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and President Eisenhower. The joke is that the privileged and entitled are just as much, probably more pretense and uncertainty ridden than the rest of us. They just know how to look good in pictures.

God bless Elvis. None of us would have wanted to exchange skins with him. Pure tragedy, his life, and we want to emulate some totally skewed image of the rock star.

Perhaps we could begin teaching the current professional athletes to pick up cigarette butts.

We’d probably all feel better if that were to occur.

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